Regular readers of this blog will realise that there are certain hobby horses that I have. One is that I ask for little from Government except that they do what only Governments CAN and SHOULD do, and otherwise stay out of my face. The other is that I genuinely believe that there are people who can be described as evil, and that Moral Relativism is a seriously dangerous philosophy. I explored that territory in this post – I commented at the time how surprised I was when I found a number of people on another online site berating me for calling the boys involved ‘evil’.
Well, I guess I’d better get ready for some more berating, because this suggestion from Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England, is a typically daft liberal riposte to a problem caused by the worst form of liberalism. The suggestion is to raise the age of crimninality from 10 to 12, because most 10 year old criminals don’t know what they’re doing. Bollocks.
Ms Atkinson. There is one question to answer here. The vast majority of 10 year old kids do not take a toddler from a shopping mall, lie to people who stopped them about their relationship with the toddler, and then torture the toddler to death on a railway line. Which to me indicates one of the following:
- The desire to do so is very, very rare and when it does occur in someone needs to be regarded as abnormal.
- The desire to do so maybe more common but most children of 10 are aware of right and wrong and know it would be wrong.
- That even if someone did want to do it they’d be scared by the consequences.
- That the desire to do so is rare, AND most children of 10 are aware of right and wrong and know it would be wrong.
Now, I’d argue – being a fairly average man in the street – that (4) is the reason why this sort of crime is rare. Most kids wouldn’t even think about it. Videos and media imagery may bring such thoughts to the heads of a few more children, but then (2) and (3) usually kick in. And if someone gets as far as (1) then we’re looking at someone who is either mad or bad, but is undeniably dangerous.
The Bulger killers were given a lot of help in trying to rehabilitate, but in at least one of the killers, the efforts at rehabilitation seem to have failed and he’s back inside after release on licence.
Now. The two boys were approached when they had James with them, and lied about their relationship with him and where they were going. They also attempted to cover up their actions. Now, call me simple minded if you will – and I promise I won’t mind at all – but to me lying and cover up means that at least one of them WAS aware that what they had done was wrong. And even if only one was aware, the other went along with it, rather than admitting the situation to his parents. So he was ashamed of what he’d done – again, that frequently indicates that we know that what we’ve done is wrong.
My point is that these kids, in my opinion, knew wholeheartedly that they’d done wrong – just like the Edlington kids. Whilst I accept that media influences and bad parenting may have contributed to both cases, the bottom line is that in both cases I believe that it is inconceivable that they didn’t know that what they were doing was wrong.
So…there is an element of bad there…possibly some mad…but definitely dangerous. As for rehabilitation and releasing them, even on licence, I refer you again to the story of the Scorpion and the Frog which I first related here:
There’s a fable that’s been repeated in many places, about a Scorpion who wants to cross a river. He ponders this problem for a while when he sees a frog hopping along. He asks the frog whether it would be possible to ride on his back whilst the frog swims the river. The frog points out that the scorpion is likely to sting him on the journey and kill him. The scorpion replies that were he to do that, then he too would drown, as well as the frog. The frog goes along with this, and the pair start the river crossing. Half way across the scorpion stings the frog, and as they both drown the frog asks ‘Why?’ The scorpion sadly remarks ‘It’s in my nature.’
It’s in my nature. Whether mad or bad, boys such as this are evil and dangerous. Their nature would, to me, preclude them from release; not for any desire for punishment, but because they cannot be trusted not to do something similar again. But that’s another story, and I await the bleeding hearts telling me why I am so wrong.